story by Alyssa Klimek
photos by randy braley
When there’s not much time to squeeze in an ab workout, it’s important to know which moves will yield the best results. Melissa Kramer, certified personal trainer at Woodside Health and Tennis Club (2000 W. 47th Place, Westwood), has four moves to repeat until you hear the beep on your stopwatch and your 15 minutes are up. For best results, Kramer recommends allowing 48 hours for your muscles to rest and repair before you start crunching again.
Walk Out Mountain Climber
Start in a standing position. Line up your feet with your shoulders and place hands at your sides. Reach to the floor, touch your hands to the ground, and begin walking your hands forward. Stop when you reach plank position. Bring in the right knee diagonally toward your left elbow. Extend right leg back to a plank position. Repeat with your left knee to your right elbow. Repeat for a total of 4 reps. Walk hands toward your feet until your legs are straight, and come to a standing position. This move targets abdominal muscles but also works your chest, shoulders and arms. Complete 10 sets of four reps.
Possible modifications: Instead of bringing your left knee to your right elbow, bring your left knee to your left elbow to challenge a different muscle. Elbows should bend slightly.
Place a foam roller on the floor. Lie on your back on top of the foam roller, aligning it with your spine. Bend your knees. Arms should be at your sides. Extend your left leg and your right arm at the same time. Lift your shoulders, head and chest into a crunch, bringing extended arm up to meet extended leg, reaching for your ankle. Use your opposite arm for support. Return your arm and leg to extended positions and repeat. Complete 15 reps on each side.
Possible modifications: Beginners can use the floor instead of a foam roller. For a challenge, use both arms to reach toward your foot.
Lie on your right side. Place right elbow underneath your shoulder and bend your feet behind you. If you were to look in a mirror, you should be able to draw a straight line from knees to shoulders, and your neck should be aligned with your spine. Raise your hips, extend the left leg out into a straight line and raise it toward the ceiling. Repeat on left side. You should feel the burn in your core muscles, shoulders and hips. Complete 10 reps on each side.
Possible modifications: Eliminate the leg raise for an easier move and focus just on mastering the side plank position with the hip raise. For added burn, don’t bend your feet back to rest behind you—extend your legs to form a straight line between feet and shoulders, and raise your leg from there.
Quadruped Leg Raise
Begin on all fours. Align both hands underneath your shoulders, and make sure knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. You’d be surprised at how much your core moves during this exercise, so stabilize it by positioning a dowel rod on your back, parallel to the line of your spine. Reach out your left hand while extending your right leg at the same time. Stop when a straight line is formed from your fingertips to toes. Hold for five seconds. Repeat with your right hand and left leg. This move works abdominal muscles and thighs and increases core stability. Complete 10 reps on each side.
Possible modifications: Beginners can lift the arms and legs separately. Complete five reps with each arm and each leg. For a challenge, start in a plank position instead of kneeling.
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